American Standard Companies Professor of Operations Management
Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street
Matthias' areas of expertise include process improvement, digital operations, and the automotive industry.
Matthias is interested in how organisations generate and sustain process improvement practices. His research focuses on the evolution and adaption of process improvement methodologies as they are being applied across manufacturing, service, office and public sector contexts. His award-winning papers on the genealogy of lean production and the evolution of lean thinking philosophy are amongst the most widely cited works in the field. Together with John Bicheno, he is also co-author of 'The Lean Toolbox', a practitioner guide to lean transformation that has sold more than 100,000 copies across five editions and is available in English, Danish, Swedish and Chinese.
More recently, Matthias has started working on digital operations, and in particular the economics of additive manufacturing (3D printing), in order to determine how to use this set of new technologies to generate competitive advantage. He is particularly interested in identifying the role that digital manufacturing will play in supporting process improvement, reshaping product offerings, and changing the nature of competition. He also leads the Digitally Empowered Enterprise Lab at Saïd Business School, which brings together the many strands of research within the School related to the digital transformation.
Matthias is an industrial engineer by training and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Prior to joining Oxford he was on the faculty of the University of Cambridge and a Sloan Industry Center Fellow at MIT’s Engineering Systems Division.
- Process improvement
- Digital operations
- Additive manufacturing
- Automotive industry
Matthias has published widely on process improvement, order fulfilment, the automotive industry, and more recently, on digital operations.
Supply chain disruptions: the influence of industry and geography on firm reaction speed(opens in new window)
On the tension between standardized and customized policies in healthcare: The case of length-of-stay reduction(opens in new window)
Lean leadership in major projects: from “predict and provide” to “predict and prevent”(opens in new window)
Process Theory: The Principles of Operations Management
Matthias engages widely with industry and government.
The main thrust of Matthias’s work has been, and will continue to be, on questions that are important to not only to theory, but also to practice and policy. Matthias works closely with executives at a number of firms, both in terms of the research as well as executive education. He has worked with manufacturing firms all over the world to identify best practices, including global benchmarking studies of automotive assembly practices.
The automotive industry has been a natural context for his work, but more recently he has been working with public and private sector service firms to understand the necessary adaption of manufacturing best practices to non-manufacturing settings. Matthias takes an active role in industrial policy, especially with regard to the UK automotive industry. He was the only academic member selected for the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (2008-2009), which brought together the CEOs of the UK’s major automotive firms to advise HM Government on how to sustain and improve the automotive industry in the UK. For this, Matthias analysed the competitive status of the UK automotive industry, which contributed to the Automotive Council UK being established in 2009. Matthias remains actively engaged with the Supply Chain Group of the Automotive Council, and he has contributed research reports on the UK’s automotive supply chain.
Matthias is the Department Editor for ‘Operational Systems’ at the Journal of Operations Management, and an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Operations and Production Management. He regularly appears on BBC News and the Today Programme to provide commentary on automotive industry issues.
Matthias teaches a number of courses at the School.
He leads the core Technology and Operations Management courses on the MBA and Executive MBA, and offers electives in the areas of Lean Six Sigma and Supply Chain Management. Together with Jane Davies, Arnoud De Meyer, Benn Lawson and Roger W. Schmenner he is co-author of ‘Process Theory: The Principles of Operations Management’, which is the primary text used in the core Operations Management courses at both Oxford and Cambridge.